Every year VSSA's lobbying team is at the General Assembly everyday working with legislators to defeat bad bills and pass good bills. By the time the legislators walk into a subcomittee or committee meeting, they have met with your lobbying team and know the VSSSA position on every bill. You may not see our name in the newspaper or TV news as having stood up in committee to address a bill but rest assured, the committee members know our position and we are confident at the time the committee meets that your rights will be protected by the Delegates and State Senators.
The biggest success of the last four years came on February 26, 2016, when Governor Terry McAuliffe signed into law legislation to address Attorney General Mark Herring’s December 2015 cancellation of concealed carry reciprocity/recognition agreements with 25 states. House Bill 1163 and Senate Bill 610, patroned by Delegate Michael Webert and state Senator Bryce Reeves, recognizes all valid out-of-state concealed carry permits. This legislation also expands Virginia's reciprocity with other states by requiring the Virginia State Police to enter into reciprocal agreements with certain states so they will recognize Virginia’s concealed carry permit. This new law went into effect on July 1, 2016.
Below is a partial list of important bills that VSSA helped become law or helped to defeat over the past two decades.
Repeal of Handgun Rationing in 2012
In 2012, after 19 years, we finally repealed Virginia's gun rationing law known as "one gun-a-month. VSSA also helped repeal the requirement that first-time concealed carry permit applicants submit fingerprints with their application. Additionally, VSSA beat back another attempt by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to more than triple the cost of big game tags for hunters who pursue all three big game species in Virginia (deer, bear, and turkey). VSSA has successfully protect the rights of Virginia gun owners for the last 74 years. Your generous donations will help us to continue our past success.
2010 A Big Year for Gun Rights
2010 was the most successful legislative year for gun owners since 2004. After a 15 year hard fought battle, we finally repealed the ban on carrying concealed in restaurants (SB 334/HB505), like Applebees and Olive Garden, that serve alcohol in addition to food. Virginia’s concealed handgun permit holders (CHP) can now carry their personal protection firearm with them when they take their families to full service restaurants.
There were other positive CHP reforms passed into law in addition to repeal of the restaurant ban. Senate Bill 3/HB 8 allows a person who previously has been issued a Virginia CHP to submit an application to renew the permit via the United States mail.
Another bill that passed is HB 1191,which will allow a circuit court judge to authorize the Clerk of Court to issue concealed handgun permits in instances where the application is complete, the background check does not indicate that the applicant is disqualified, and, after consulting with the local sheriff or police department, there are no other questions or issues surrounding the application.
Also passed this year was HB1217, which allows local school boards to offer firearm safety education programs in the elementary grades. The bill requires that the program objectives incorporate, among other principles of firearm safety, accident prevention and the rules of the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe® program.
VSSA has been instrumental in:
- Passage of SB154 partially repealing the ban on hunting on Sunday (2014)
- Passage of HB940 and SB323 repealing Virginia's handgun rationing law known as "one gun-a-month." (2012)
- Passage of HB22 requiring localities to pass an ordinance specifically allowing them to engage in compensated confiscation ("gun buybacks") schemes, meaning that citizens will have a say before tax payer money can be spent on such schemes. (2012)
- Passage of HB754 and SB67 repealing the requirement that first time concealed carry permit holders submit fingerprints with their application. (2012)
- Passage of SB335 and HB505 repealing the ban on carrying concealed in restaurants like Applebees and Olive Garden that serve alcohol as well as food. (2010)
- Passage of SB 3 and HB 8 allowing conceal carry permit (CHP) holders to renew their permits by mail. (2010)
- Passage of Virginia’s Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) statute (SB744) of 1995
- Passage of Virginia’s full Pre-emption statue (HB 530)
- Passage of the first partial roll-back (HB404) of Virginia’s handgun rationing statute (one gun-a-month). HB 404 was introduced by VSSA member, Delegate Bill Janis.
- Passage of legislation (HB2282) to make it harder to close a gun range for noise. Again it was VSSA member Delegate Bill Janis that introduced this bill.
- Passage of legislation (HB 1302) abolishing provisions regulating sales and purchases in contiguous states.
- Passage of legislation prohibiting (HB 1150) a local government from adopting an ordinance governing the storage of firearms or ammunition
- Supreme Court Decisions in Heller vs. DC and McDonald vs. Chicago as a participant in the State Associations' Amicus Brief
Bills VSSA Helped Defeat:
Senate Bill 5 /Senate Bill 145 /Senate Bill 412 /Senate Bill 432 /Senate Bill 447 - Required a background check for any firearm transfer and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for transferors to obtain such a check from licensed firearms dealers. A transferor who fails to obtain a required background check and sells the firearm to another person is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
House Bill 41 /Senate Bill 1 would have made it a crime to knowingly possess a “trigger activator” that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm. The broad provisions in these bills could potentially criminalize firearm modifications such as competition triggers, and ergonomic changes that are commonly done by law-abiding gun owners to make their firearms more suitable for self-defense, competition, hunting, or even overcoming disability.
Senate Bill 385 /House Bill 353 /House Bill 650 - Would have prohibited any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from purchasing more than one handgun in a 30-day period and establishes such an offense as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Law-abiding individuals who can legally purchase a firearm should not be arbitrarily banned from exercising their Second Amendment rights for any amount of time.
House Bill 927/ Senate Bill 794 - Would have prohibited any person from importing, selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bills prohibited a person from carrying semi-automatic center-fire firearms with more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities and only to such firearms if the firearm holds more than 20 rounds of ammunition. The bills also increaseed from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony the penalty for carrying a semi-automatic center-fire firearm and a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place. The bills redefined "assault firearm" by reducing from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" and prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory such an assault firearm to any person. Also, the bills reduced from more than 20 to more than 10 the number of rounds of ammunition that a firearms magazine will hold in order to be defined as an "assault firearm" for purposes of possession or transportation by a person younger than 18 years of age. In addition, the bills increases the penalty from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony for a person younger than 18 years of age to possess or transport a handgun, an "assault firearm", or a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered, with some exceptions.
Senate Bill 119 /Senate Bill 228 /Senate Bill 443 - These bills required a person who lawfully possesses a firearm to report the loss or theft of the firearm to any local law-enforcement agency or the Department of State Police within 24 hours after such person discovers the loss or theft or is informed by a person with personal knowledge of the loss or theft. The bills required the relevant law-enforcement agency to enter the report information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A violation would have been punishable by a civil penalty of $50 for a first offense and not less than $100 or more than $250 for any subsequent offense.
Senate Bill 785 would have dictated how one must store firearms in their own home and imposed criminal penalties for noncompliance.
House Bill 2207 would have prohibited certain semi-automatic rifles and magazines capable of holding more than twenty rounds from being imported, sold, bartered or transferred.
House Bill 2327 would have reenacted the repealed “one gun a month” (gun rationing) statute.
Senate Bill 1228 would have repealed state firearms preemption, thus allowing localities to adopt and enforce ordinances to regulate firearms and ammunition that are stricter than the state level.
House Bill 1662 would have allowed localities to adopt ordinances to prohibit firearms or ammunition in libraries.
House Bill 1326 would have eliminated certain firearms safety courses that currently fulfill the resident and non-resident requirement for obtaining a concealed handgun permit.
House Bill 1693 would have removed exceptions for possessing certain unloaded firearms or knives in or upon a motor vehicle located at any elementary, middle or high school from the list of exceptions for possessing a weapon on school property.
Senate Bill 868 - This bill would have eliminated the current provision in state law that requires officials from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) to investigate and confirm claims of crop damage before issuing deer and bear agricultural kill permits to landowners. It would also have added elk to the list of species that may be killed pursuant to these permits. The bill was introduced as a response to the elk restoration program the VDGIF approved last year. The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation vehemently opposed the reintroduction effort and knows that this legislation would have ensured the failure of the program by allowing the killing of reintroduced elk without government oversight.
HB 1553 –This bill would have established separate big game licenses for deer, bear and turkey hunting. If passed, the bill would have increased the cost of hunting for many by as much as 100%. Many hunters currently hunt all three species of big game in Virginia and pay a flat $18 for big game tags that include all three species in addition to $18 for a state hunting license ($36 total). If passed, the bill would have established separate fees for deer and turkey that could not exceed the cost of the state hunting license, and set a fee of $25 for bear tags (a total of $79 if all three tags were purchased in addition to the state hunting license).
HB 1669 - The annual "gun show loophole" bill. This bill would have added a definition of "firearms show vendor" and requires that a criminal history record information check be performed on the prospective transferee before the vendor may transfer firearms at a gun show. Under current law, only licensed dealers must obtain such a check. The bill also adds a definition of "promoter" and requires that the promoter of a gun show provide vendors with access to licensed dealers who will conduct the criminal background check.
HB 2343 - This was a solution in search of a problem. This bill would have created a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person carrying a handgun in a public place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and prohibits a person from obtaining a concealed handgun permit for five years following such a conviction. The prohibition would apply regardless of whether the person is carrying the handgun openly or concealed with a concealed handgun permit. Current law makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to carry a concealed handgun in a public place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but does not speak to openly carrying a handgun while under the influence.
HB 2524 - This bill would have prohibited any person from selling, bartering, or transferring a firearms magazine designed to hold 20 or more rounds of ammunition.
Bills that Became Law with the Help of VSSA Include:
House Bill 1552 - Amends the language relating to the issuance of de facto concealed handgun permits. Current law states that if a court does not issue a permit or find that the applicant is disqualified, within 45 days of receipt of the application, the clerk is to certify the application and send it to the applicant. The certified application then serves as a de facto permit until the actual permit is issued or the applicant is found to be disqualified. The bill states that the clerk must mail or e-mail the certified application to the applicant within five business days of the expiration of the 45-day period.
House Bill 1856 - Allows a concealed handgun permit holder to obtain a replacement permit in the event that the original permit is lost or destroyed. The permit holder would be required to submit a notarized statement to the clerk of the court that the permit was lost or destroyed and pay a fee not to exceed $5, and the clerk would be required to issue a replacement permit within 10 business days. The replacement permit will have the same expiration date as the original permit.
House Bill 1857, Clarifies that a member of the military may provide permanent orders assigning him to the Pentagon for purposes of providing documentation of residency when purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. This bill corrects a problem caused by the federal government where some military personnel who are attempting to purchase a firearm in the Commonwealth are being turned away because their permanent duty orders have assigned them to the Pentagon, which lists its official address in Washington, D.C., despite being located in Virginia.
Senate Bill 1213/House Bill 1501 - Provides that the State Board of Elections, in cooperation with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will make mail voter registration application forms available where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. This bill is identical to HB 1501. This bill incorporates SB 1346.
House Bill 1422 - Adds one firearm, not to exceed $3,000 in value, to the list of items that every householder shall be entitled to hold exempt from creditor process. This bill incorporates HB 1471, HB 1494, and HB 2428. This bill is identical to SB 839.
Senate Bill 757 - This important legislation prohibits a locality from adopting an ordinance that prohibits the shooting of pneumatic guns on private property, with permission of the owner of the property, if reasonable care is taken to prevent a projectile from crossing the bounds of the property. The bill also invalidates any existing local ordinances that conflict with the provisions of the act.